Feds to review race-based hiring policy

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he was

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he was "very concerned to read the report of a position only being open to people from an identifiable group". (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

BRIAN LILLEY, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 10:39 PM ET

OTTAWA - The Harper government will ask for a review of hiring policies for government jobs after a QMI Agency report about race-based hiring policies.

Sara Landriault, a stay-at-home mother trying to re-enter the work force says she was shocked to find out that she was barred from a applying for a job at citizenship and immigration because she was white. The position of administrative assistant was only open to aboriginal applicants.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he was shocked too.

“I was very concerned to read the report of a position only being open to people from an identifiable group,” said Kenney. “All positions should be on the basis of equality of opportunity and merit.”

The problem is Kenney doesn’t have the power to change the rules and neither does the government without altering legislation. Hiring within the federal civil service is handled by bureaucrats; only the legislation and regulations are set by Parliament.

Kenney says he has spoken about this issue with Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, the cabinet minister in charge of the civil service. Minister Day has asked his department to review the rules surrounding affirmative action policies in public service hiring.

Affirmative action is enshrined in Canada’s constitution and legislation dealing with minority hiring practices has been on the books for decades but Kenney says those laws are likely being misinterpreted.

“I’m pretty sure the parliamentarians that included affirmative action in the Charter meant encouraging people to apply,” said Kenney, “giving them equality of opportunity, not restricting people based on race or ethnicity.”


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